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August 07, 2007


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Kit P

It is not a difficult concept but in general emissions do not equal pollution. Pollution is a meaningless term unless it is defined as a level on contamination above the threshold of environmental impact.

For example a ship at sea is not causing pollution but it would be causing pollution if it was in a harbor at Long Beach, California. However, it is not true that that ships in the harbor at Long Beach are the 'biggest source of air pollution' because POV are the biggest cause. It may be true for the EU by 2020.

Fuel cells may be a good marine application for the EU.

Thomas Marihart

Dr. Frank Mitloehner of UC Davis put up some interesting SAT pics of ships exhaust plumes off the West Coast of California during one of the Air quality meetings awhile back that showed where much of the exhaust goes on the prevailing winds.

...it blows inland to the East, from several miles out to sea...Suprise!

Pollution is a global issue, not localized, and CA is actually one of the cleaner economies on the planet.

We just think the sky is falling every time the environMENTAL MOVEMENT needs more donations to pay for thoes nice 'green' SUVs they drive to all the protests...


I think shipping is a perfect application for solar power, especially when supplemented by fuel cells. Ships have a huge surface area, some around 400m x 50m or 20,000 sq. m.

I'm sure 20,000 sq. m of solar panels could generate all needed power for propulsion, lights, etc. during the day, and even electrolyze some hydrogen for the fuel cell for night time use.


I've read that pollution from coal plants in China causes acid rain on the US west coast. I wonder just how much, and how much pollution on the seas would cause acid rain on land and on our fisheries.

It seems ironic that there are these new ideas about wind power for ships. Who'd a thought... sails for boats... what's old is new. Maybe the point is hybrid is the answer. Use combustion fuel when the wind stops. Use wind power when it's abundant and free.

david foster

"(ships) are set to emit more than all land sources combined by 2020"...I don't know how much growth in shipping they are assuming by that year (the site at the like was unbearably slow) but realistically, growth in shipping is likely to be constrained by port capacity. Especially in Europe where there a lot of environmental and NIMBY objections to new ports and to expansion of existing ports.

There's no point in putting containers on a ship if you don't have any way to take them off....


I’m thinking that we could combine the luxury liner with the cargo container ship and burn the bio-gas from the passengers. As the earth matures so do the residents. Everyone knows how old folks emit gas. Problem solved.

Dr. Hussain Alrobaei

Historically, twin shaft simple cycle gas turbine units or internal combustion engines have been the preferred mechanical drivers for ship propellers and pipeline compression in the natural gas transportation and processing industries, etc. To choose between the gas turbine and internal combustion engine, many considerations such as compact and economic have to be taken into account, and it depends on many parameters, which vary from one application to the other, as well as from one client to another. Recently various technological developments are employed to lower the fuel consumption and emissions of mechanical drive gas turbine units. It is sought to decrease fossil fuel consumption due to ever increasing costs of fossil fuel and the awareness of the impact on the environment of burning fossil fuels. Considerable improvements of performance are possible with small gas turbine units that have quite a low efficiency in simple cycle operation, but can take advantage of combined cycle mode to reach higher efficiency. Thanks to their high efficiency, operability and reliability, they help to save CO2 emissions compared to conventional thermal power plants. However small size combined Cycle Power Plant (CCPP) comprise a Twin Shaft Gas Turbine Unit (TSGTU) as high maneuver alternative for mechanical drive or independent electrical power generation are not yet a common practice. From this standpoint the recent study [1] was undertaken to include thermal effectiveness and thermodynamic performance of high maneuver micro CCPP alternatives. Assessment of different configurations of micro CCPP to a specification based on assumed state-of-the-art technology for the second decade of the 21st century. The study result shows the competitiveness and thermal effectiveness of examined schemes. For the case study CCPP with TSGTU, it is possible to achieve high rate of fuel saving (exceeding 0.09 ton.fuel/hr for each MW of design output power). Furthermore implementation of the proposed CCPP scheme for modification industrial twin shaft gas turbine unit adds 11 : 14.5 % points to the simple cycle efficiency, and reduce the CO2 emission by 36.6 : 48.3 % .This scheme shows the best rate of fuel saving at different modes of operation and a good part load performance. It is also interesting to note that with this kind of CCPP, the power gas turbine can be operate independently. Therefore the gas turbine unit performance can be proven and quantified before commissioning of the Steam Turbine (ST) is begun. Moreover the ST can be shutdown independently from the gas turbine unit any tripping of the ST unit does not necessarily entail a gas turbine unit trip and a fraction of the power of the CCPP is available during the ST unit maintenance. Consequently the proposed CCPP design could represent in the future an interesting alternative for independent on site power generation.
[1]. Hussain Alrobaei, 2005, Thermal Effectiveness and Thermodynamic Performance of High Maneuver Micro Combined Cycle Power Plant Aternatives.


@Thomas Marihart

20.000 sq meters at 200 w/sqm peak is 4 MW; 2 MW is more realistic as an average for 8 to 10 hours a day.

Cargo and other large ships engines run in the range of 35 khp to 100 khp, the Westinghouse 501 is 195 khp. In watts that is 26 MW to 75 MW, the Westinghouse is 145 MW.

So those PV cells can provide 2,6 to 7,8 percent of the needed power, for 1/3 of a day, at the best.

Note that with container ships most of the surface area is covered with shipping containers.


You cannot compare peak rated hp of an IC engine with the continuous hp for an electric motor. I am sure those diesel engines do not run at their peak horsepower when cruising.

And I think you could easily have a solar roof mounted above the containers, or even integrated into the container itself. Then it could provide power for inter modal electric rail or trucking also.

If it is not practical to run off solar alone, then supplement with sails, fuel cells, diesel, or any combination. The point is you are reducing CO2 and other pollutants.

Nick G

a container ship of about 23,000 d.w.t., capable of carrying 1600 containers, will burn about 40 tons of fuel a day: that's about 100,000 kwh’s, assuming 33% efficiency, so about 4MW. So, solar could provide 50% of power for 1/3 of the day. Of course, reducing water speed by 25% typically reduces power consumption by 50%, so you could run on solar for 1/3 of the time. If you triple solar efficiency (theoretically doable, and have good batteries, you could run just on solar. Or, cut speed by 66%.

Or, charge batteries while docked.


Thomas Marihart writes: We just think the sky is falling every time the environMENTAL MOVEMENT needs more donations to pay for thoes nice 'green' SUVs they drive to all the protests...

Thomas, where do you come up with garbage like this?


If you want garbage, listen to Kit P:

"[...]For example a ship at sea is not causing pollution"

He's so funny. Whenever I get bored I go to The Energy Blog and look up Kit's comments. It's good humor, but he's actually sincere...

Kirk Sorensen

The answer to the problem of ship pollution is the eventual adoption of nuclear power for ship propulsion. There was a text written on the subject back in the 1960s by Holmes Crouch, who has graciously allowed me to disseminate his work electronically for educational purposes:

Nuclear Ship Propulsion

I hope this information is useful and relevant to the discussion.


Media Source:

About Sources and Emissions

Where does methane come from?
Human-related sources
Natural sources
Where does methane come from?
Methane is emitted from a variety of both human-related (anthropogenic) and natural sources. Human-related activities include fossil fuel production, animal husbandry (enteric fermentation in livestock and manure management), rice cultivation, biomass burning, and waste management. These activities release significant quantities of methane to the atmosphere. It is estimated that 60% of global methane emissions are related to human-related activities (IPCC, 2001c). Natural sources of methane include wetlands, gas hydrates, permafrost, termites, oceans, freshwater bodies, non-wetland soils, and other sources such as wildfires.

Methane emission levels from a source can vary significantly from one country or region to another, depending on many factors such as climate, industrial and agricultural production characteristics, energy types and usage, and waste management practices. For example, temperature and moisture have a significant effect on the anaerobic digestion process, which is one of the key biological processes that cause methane emissions in both human-related and natural sources. Also, the implementation of technologies to capture and utilize methane from sources such as landfills, coal mines, and manure management systems affects the emission levels from these sources.

Emission inventories are prepared to determine the contribution from different sources. The following sections present information from inventories of U.S. man-made sources and natural sources of methane globally. For information on international methane emissions from man-made sources, visit the International Analyses Web site.

Human-related Sources
In the United States, the largest methane emissions come from the decomposition of wastes in landfills, ruminant digestion and manure management associated with domestic livestock, natural gas and oil systems, and coal mining. Table 1 shows the level of emissions from individual sources for the years 1990 and 1997 to 2003.

Kit P

http://www.epa.gov/agstar/pdf/2006digest.pdf Figure 1 show that the program has been effective in reducing methane ghg. It is a small program but we need many small solutions too.


Kit P wrote: it is not true that [...] ships in the harbor at Long Beach are the 'biggest source of air pollution' because POV are the biggest cause.


Dirty movies: why Hollywood is a polluter

Associated Press
Tuesday November 14, 2006
Guardian Unlimited

Special effects explosions and idling vehicles are among the reasons for Hollywood's newly-discovered role as an air polluter, a university study published today said.

University of California research revealed the film and TV industry makes a larger contribution to air pollution in the Los Angeles region than almost all the five other sectors studied.

The industry creates more pollution than either aerospace manufacturing or hotels, the study found, with only petroleum manufacturing giving off more emissions.

Kit P

The Sacramento Bee was planning to do a story on the 10 worst polluters in the county until # 6 on the list was the Sacramento Bee.

The basic problem with finger pointing environmental activists is that they are generally ignorant of math and chemistry. Their knowledge of the environment is what they learned from journalists who are ignorant of math and chemistry.

Arifin Hussain

It is very much useful for us. I agree with Mr.Moshiur.

Arifin Hussain

What a site!

seyi gabriels

the slow reduction of sulphur content to 0.1 by 2020 is a fit that should and can be achived earlier than 2020.

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